Warren and Matt
How best to balance work costs with energy gain? CP Architects recommend taking a pragmatic, step-by-step approach
How can we make our homes more energy efficient? Few are better qualified to advise on short and long-term cost-saving measures than Matt Hedges and Warren Hagues; the co-Directors of CP Architects have 40 years’ combined experience working on Chiswick and Hammersmith’s housing stock.
‘In the past, the topic hasn’t always been that high on our clients’ agenda, though I suspect the prospect of increased bills will concentrate minds,’ says Matt. ‘Often, by their very nature, our designs will significantly improve the fabric of a property and, as projects evolve, we also like to start a conversation, suggesting ideas that can be accommodated within the budget.
‘Most importantly, the constant mantra of insulate, insulate is not necessarily correct. There is a science to how a building functions, and the wider consequences of any plan should be carefully thought through – it’s all too easy to create a sealed box with insufficient ventilation and cause more problems than solutions.’
Matt recommends a step-by-step strategy that begins with taking simple actions before considering ‘big ticket’ items. ‘Weather-proofing doors and windows and boosting the insulation of the roof space and perhaps walls and floors will deliver an immediate impact and they are relatively economic jobs to do (planning permission issues may arise when replacing windows and insulating exterior walls).
‘Once the home is reasonably insulated – and only then – would we propose looking at installing an air source heat pump or, even more ambitiously, investing in solar thermal panels. There’s no point if heat is still being lost through gaps under the front door and windows that don’t fit.
‘Our housing stock is old and there’s no one-size fits all answer, for example a heat pump will not be powerful enough for every building. When we look at a property’s energy profile, Warren and I assess what is most appropriate and make recommendations which will pay dividends both now and in the future.’
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